Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

February 1, 2012

Pythons? No One Told Me!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

In 1953, a friend and I drove down the east coast of Florida to Miami.  From there we crossed the Everglades to the west coast and travelled north.  I can never forget how I was fascinated by the Everglades.  I believe I fell in love with the vast rivers of grass and the sawgrass marshes.

I did not know that one day we would live in Miami and be so close to this remarkable place.  During the years we lived there, I had many opportunities to become more acquainted with the Glades.  Almost weekly I would be involved with families who lived in the Glades — especially the Seminole Indians.  I always looked forward to the pumpkin bread that awaited our arrival.

Our weekly ministry gave me the privilege to see life as it was lived in isolation.  I came to love the people, and I have many treasures that were given to me by individuals — even Chief Osceola.

Apart from these relationships, my two sons and I would go fishing in various places in the Everglades.  We enjoyed the thrill of catching the huge mud fish . . . observing the alligators playing in the gator holes . . . and often watching as a small gator would bite our fish bait and one of the boys struggling to pull the gator in until the line would break, or I would cut it when I thought the gator was too close.

There was even one time when we had to retreat as a large gator continued to swim toward us.  I realized he was going to come on land.  I sent the boys to the car as I hastened to pull in our lines.  I then retreated to the car.  The gator continued to come and I started the car and began to slowly drive away.  I am convinced if we had not left that the gator would have bitten the tire of that red Volkswagen!

With the boys, there were camping trips.  I recall one where we had to use the boat to go across the water to a dry, open place.  There the tent was pitched and with some others, we camped for the night.  My boys and I have talked about that night.  I think we were all uncomfortable.  We had probably invaded the domain of some alligators — and we should not have been there.  Gators are extremely dangerous — especially if it is mating season.

But now I look back at several things and I ask myself, “What in the world was I doing?  Why did I take my sons to such a place?”  The question truly behooves me with the news that has come from the Everglades.  It is now reported that there are tens of thousands of Burmese pythons there!  Some have been there for years . . . owners releasing their pythons . . . and others escaping from pet shops during hurricanes . . . and they have multiplied rapidly.

A Burmese python can grow to 26 feet and 200 pounds.  They can swallow animals as large as an alligator.  They kill their prey by coiling around it and suffocating it.  They are diminishing much of the wildlife.  Rabbits and foxes are rarely seen now.  The population of raccoons, opossums, deer, and bobcats has declined drastically.  Just this month a python was captured that weighed 156 pounds and was almost 17 feet long!

I know that they are much more prevalent today than in those days we spent there!  But still there were pythons! Why didn’t someone tell me?  Or why didn’t I think?  I know I would not go there to camp today . . . or even go into some of the areas where we used to fish.  Yet, I look back at dangers that probably existed when we did adventure there!  And now with “wisdom” I continue to ask, “Why didn’t I use good sense?”

That is probably a question many of us have asked about some experiences or adventures.  We wonder why we did it?  But we look back and realize nothing happened!  But I know the safety of those days was not chance!  I look back with a grateful heart that a God who superintends my life was there.  He was the protector and guardian.  I give thanks to Him!

“But you are a shield around me, O Lord.”  (Psalm 3:3)



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